GIF Breakdown: Spurs vs. Pelicans

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Every Spur contributed a workmanlike effort as the Spurs defeated the Pelicans 96-80. As usual, we'll look at some plays that stood out in this edition of GIF Breakdown.

This was a game where all of the Spurs who got onto the floor contributed.  Tim Duncan seemed to be in energy conservation mode for much of the 25 minutes he played.  A few times, he hung back in the backcourt waiting to see if the Spurs would score quickly, saving him a needless trip down the court, and serving as a defensive backstop if there was a quick turnover. But on this play he still proves he can run the floor when he sees that he has an advantage.  Tony brings the ball into the front court and passes out to Marco Belinelli on the wing. The Pelicans close out to prevent an open three from Marco but he's not even thinking about taking a jumper, instead he slips the ball to Duncan who takes advantage of an open path to the basket for an easy dunk.

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Jeff Ayres, who has been largely replaced in the rotation by Aron Baynes, proved that he can still make valuable contributions. Here, he sets a good screen for Manu who then easily gets by Austin Rivers who looks like he's walking in wet concrete on this play.  The threat of a pass to Marco keeps Tyreke Evans occupied and it's an easy layup for Ginobili.

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Cory Joseph also had a good game.  He only scored 2 points in 23 minutes but he had 5 rebounds, 3 assists and most importantly, zero turnovers.  Here he whips around an Ayres screen a little too quickly because the screen wasn't set, but then Ayres rolls to the basket.   Joseph  gets sandwiched between Alexis Ajinca and Brian Roberts and falls down as Roberts shoves him down with two hands to the back (no foul call?  C'mon ref!) and he shows good body control as he maintains his pivot foot and flips the ball to Ayres who is standing unguarded under the basket.  After a brief bobble, Ayres makes the bunny.

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Tony Parker spent most of the Pelicans game in coast mode.  He didn't seem to want to spend a lot of energy on drives to the basket, but his assist game was on target.  Here he throws a Peyton Manning-like laser to Kawhi Leonard who has outrun all of the Pelicans except for Darius Miller who he simply overpowers for an easy layup.  Tyreke Evans tries to get into the play but Kawhi uses his left hand, and the rim, to protect his shot from Evans' ineffective swipe.  While many of the vets were conserving energy, Kawhi was going full speed the entire game.

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Here we see an excellent two man game with Boris Diaw and Tim Duncan. Boris gets the ball on the right side just outside the lane, and feeds it inside to Duncan.  Tyreke Evans turns his back on Boris to double team Duncan, and Duncan takes a step outside as Boris swings in a wide arc to the hoop.  Tim sends a perfect bounce pass to the exact spot Boris will be on his way to the hoop. The help from Al-Farouq Aminu is late and Boris makes an easy layup.

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As Marco works a pick and roll with Ayres, he draws a double team and Darius Miller loses track of Manu Ginobili.  So do the rest of the Pelicans as he streaks down the middle of the lane and throws the ball down as Pelicans rush away to avoid being added to a poster.  The best thing about this play was how graceful and smooth Manu looked walking away from it.  Every time he dunks, Spurs fans get a little nervous about his hamstrings, but he looks really comfortable with his legs at this point of the season.

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Most Spurs scoring plays are about how players sharing the ball creates open shot opportunities. This isn't one of those plays. Manu uses his speed and ability to quickly accelerate past Tyreke Evans.  Evans manages to stay between Manu and the basket but he's too off-balance to challenge the shot.

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Early offense by the Spurs, as Marco beats his man to the three point line and Manu spots him with a cross-court pass.  Great ball movement leads to open shots, and Marco cashes the three.

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Ayres and Baynes are in the game together, which rarely happens.  Jeff feeds the ball to Aron and cuts to the basket, bringing his defender with him.  That leaves Baynes in single coverage and he brings the ball to the middle of the lane and hits a sweet hook shot over Jeff Withey, who can only watch as the ball rattles in.

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